UMNO and Barisan Nasional set to lose votes over rising cost of living

I refer to press reports quoting Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya as saying that he feels confident that a reverse Malay tsunami was likely, whereby Malay voters who used to support the opposition would now swing to UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN).[1]

According to Shabudin, his prediction was based on “feedback and grassroots support he has gotten from the Malay electorate around the country, especially the ones in Tasek Gelugor.”

If Shabudin’s comments prove one thing, it is that UMNO leaders are far removed from what is actually happening on the ground. I have just spent three days campaigning in the Malay heartland in Johor and the feedback I received is the same as elsewhere in Malaysia – people are hard hit by GST and inflation caused by the failure of Barisan Nasional policies.

However, it is pointless to argue based on anecdotal evidence. Instead, let us consider the facts. During an interview on BFM recently, Dato’ Wira Ameer Ali Mydin, the managing director of local hypermarket chain Mydin, stated that the retail sector in Malaysia is expected to face difficult times.[2]

This is based on the fact that retail sales and more tellingly hypermarket sales have been consistently dropping in the last one year, despite the Malaysian GDP showing positive growth figures. As hypermarkets make up half of the total grocery market in Malaysia, and with Mydin being one of three players who cumulatively control 50 per cent of market share, it is a serious point of concern when their data reveals negative growth of around four to five per cent in the last one year.

According to Ameer, one of the main reasons for this contraction is inflation. Tracking 150 basic items in his stores, he reveals that their prices have gone up by more than 14 per cent over the last five years. This includes basic household items such as cabbage, which has gone up 29 per cent, ikan kembung hitam (19.5 per cent), Maggi chilli sauce (38.8%) and Ayam brand sardine (30.6 per cent). This is a far cry from the official consumer price index statistics published by the Government.

Mydin’s data is most alarming, because it means that the B40 or bottom 40 per cent of households in our country are hardest hit by rising cost of living brought about as a direct and indirect result of BN national policies over the last five years. This includes the introduction of GST in 2015, the withdrawal of subsidies for petrol, gas, cooking oil and sugar, as well as the weakening of the ringgit following the 1MDB financial scandal.

With the actual state of the economy in such dire straits, it is mind-boggling that Shabudin and other UMNO leaders would even dare to think that they will win more votes, especially from the Malays and Bumiputera who make up the bulk of the B40. In contrast, it is almost a certainty that voters by and large will swing away from BN, which has clearly failed them, and choose instead a new government that is committed to addressing the bread and butter concerns of all Malaysians.

Zairil Khir Johari
DAP Assistant National Publicity Secretary
DAP Penang Vice-Chairman

UMNO dan Barisan Nasional bakal hilang undi akibat kenaikan kos sara hidup

Saya merujuk kepada laporan akhbar yang memetik Ahli Parlimen Tasek Gelugor Datuk Shabudin Yahaya sebagai berkata bahawa dia yakin kemungkinan berlakunya keterbalikan tsunami Melayu, di mana pengundi Melayu yang dahulu menyokong pembangkang kini akan beralih ke UMNO dan Barisan Nasional (BN).[1]

Menurut Shabudin, ramalannya berdasarkan kepada “maklum balas dan sokongan akar umbi yang diperolehnya daripada pengundi Melayu di seluruh negara, khususnya di Tasek Gelugor.”

Kenyataan Shabudin ini hanya membuktikan satu perkara, yakni bahawa pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO langsung tidak memahami realiti sebenar rakyat. Saya baru sahaja menghabiskan tiga hari berkempen di kawasan Melayu di Johor dan maklum balas yang saya terima adalah sama seperti di tempat lain di Malaysia – orang ramai dibebani GST dan inflasi yang berlaku akibat kegagalan dasar Barisan Nasional.

Walau bagaimanapun, adalah tidak munasabah untuk berdebat berdasarkan kisah anekdot. Sebaliknya, mari kita pertimbangkan fakta. Semasa temubual di BFM baru-baru ini, pengarah urusan rantaian pasar raya tempatan, Dato’ Wira Ameer Ali Mydin, menyatakan bahawa sektor runcit di Malaysia dijangka menghadapi masa sukar.[2]

Ini didasarkan hakikat bahawa jualan runcit dan pasar raya telah menurun secara konsisten dalam masa satu tahun yang lalu, walaupun KDNK Malaysia menunjukkan angka pertumbuhan positif. Memandangkan pasar raya besar membentuk separuh daripada jumlah pasaran runcit di Malaysia, dan dengan Mydin menjadi salah satu daripada tiga pemain yang secara kumulatif menguasai 50 peratus bahagian pasaran, ia adalah satu perkara yang serius apabila data mereka mendedahkan pertumbuhan negatif sekitar empat hingga lima peratus peratus dalam tempoh satu tahun lepas.

Menurut Ameer, salah satu sebab utama penguncupan ini adalah inflasi. Merujuk 150 item asas di kedai-kedainya, beliau mendedahkan bahawa harga jualan telah naik lebih daripada 14 peratus dalam tempoh lima tahun yang lalu. Ini termasuk barangan isi rumah asas seperti kubis yang meningkat 29 peratus, ikan kembung hitam (19.5 peratus), sos cili Maggi (38.8%) dan sardin jenama Ayam (30.6 peratus). Ini jauh berbeza berbanding statistik indeks harga pengguna rasmi yang diterbitkan oleh Kerajaan.

Data Mydin adalah paling membimbangkan, kerana ia bermakna bahawa B40 atau 40 peratus isi rumah terbawah di negara kita terhimpit dengan kenaikan kos sara hidup yang diakibatkan secara langsung dan tidak langsung oleh dasar BN sejak lima tahun yang lalu. Ini termasuk pelaksanaan GST pada tahun 2015, pemansuhan subsidi bagi petrol, gas, minyak masak dan gula, serta kelemahan ringgit berikutan skandal kewangan 1MDB.

Dengan keadaan sebenar ekonomi yang mengerikan ini, adalah sangat mengejutkan apabila Shabudin dan pemimpin UMNO lain berani menganggap bahawa mereka akan memenangi lebih banyak undi, terutamanya daripada orang Melayu dan Bumiputera yang membentuk sebahagian besar B40. Sebenarnya, adalah hampir pasti bahawa pengundi secara besar-besaran akan menjauhi BN yang jelas telah menghampakan mereka, dan sebaliknya memilih kerajaan baru yang komited untuk menangani isu sara hidup semua rakyat Malaysia.

Zairil Khir Johari
Penolong Setiausaha Kebangsaan DAP
Naib Pengerusi DAP Pulau Pinang

[1] http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/04/14/reverse-malay-tsunami-is-coming-umno-man-warns-opposition/

[2] https://www.bfm.my/bg-datuk-wira-ameer-ali-mydin-on-kr1m-i-was-naive.html

NB: This press statement was released on 15 April 2018 in Kuala Lumpur.

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